When the 2011 NFL season began, what did you expect the Kansas City Chiefs’ record to be heading into the week 6 bye?
I have a strong feeling many fans expected 2-3 or 3-2, not much better, not much worse. In my pre-season schedule run-down, I had the Chiefs at 2-3 and finishing the season 8-8.
As the bye week came and went, I re-evaluated the remaining Chiefs schedule and now have the Chiefs at 10-6 and probable repeat Champs in the AFC West. How did I come up with two more wins than I previously found? It wasn’t easy. Losing multiple star players (TE Tony Moeaki, SS Eric Berry, RB Jamaal Charles) tends to set a team back, and the Chiefs were no different.
The early injuries were obviously detrimental to the growth of the Chiefs as a single unit… Then, something happened… The Chiefs found on-field leadership from Matt Cassel, something I thought may have not actually existed previously, and the team found and offensive rushing game with Jackie Battle.
Since coming to Kansas City, the number one thing I wanted to see from Matt Cassel was leadership and the ability to take this team to a win when nothing else is going right. Ever since the side line blowup between Cassel and Todd Haley in week 4 against the Indianapolis Colts, I believe this Chiefs team has begun to believe Cassel is, in fact, finally, the leader of this team.
Leadership and a rushing game… What else do you need to win ball games?
Riding high on rare optimism, I am ready for week 7 in Oakland against the Raiders!
5 Reasons the Oakland Raiders could beat the Kansas City Chiefs
I mentioned above, my belief that Matt Cassel has turned the corner and become a leader of the Chiefs. On the other side, the Raiders have Carson Palmer leading the team. Palmer hasn’t played football since the conclusion of the 2010 season and was never considered a leader, at least publically, by Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis… a title he has already anointed upon rookie QB Andy Dalton.
Wait, that sounded as if Palmer was a reason for the Chiefs to win… Ok, here’s the positive, Palmer is a huge upgrade over Kyle Boller, who would be starting at the QB if the Raiders had not traded to acquire Palmer earlier in the week. Palmer has a propensity to over-throw recievers deep. Brandon Flowers appears to to enjoy getting burned… Maybe Carson won’t over-throw every time Flowers finds himself on fire.
No, Chiefs fans… I’m not talking about Dexter McCluster, I am talking about the original Run DMC, Darren McFadden. The Raiders are ranked #2 in the NFL with 170 yards per game on the ground, while the Chiefs rank 13th against the rush, allowing 130 yards per game.
Steve Brown of ChiefConcerns.com: Chiefs lose if they can’t stop Raiders Darren McFadden. Duh…right! It’s true though, a loose McFadden would blow any chance of the Chiefs winning. McFadden leads the NFL with 610 rushing yards and is second in the NFL with 5.5 ypc on 100 attempts. McFadden is the key to everything and the Raiders big, big weapon for beating the Chief. Not Palmer, but McFadden!
Eli Kaberon of ProFootballWeekly.com: McFadden and Bush are a great 1-2 punch and could dominate the clock. Even with a new QB, the Raiders offense should be able to move the ball because of those two (and the solid Oakland offensive line).
The combined record of the Minnesota Vikings (1-5) and Indianapolis Colts (0-6), the two teams the Chiefs have beaten. “You have to beat the teams you’re supposed to beat.” As NFL fans, how many times have we heard that saying? The combined record of the teams who have beaten the Chiefs is 13-4: Buffalo Bills (4-2), Detroit Lions (5-1) & San Diego Chargers (4-1). The Chiefs haven’t beaten a team with a winning record and are now faced with the Raiders, sitting at 4-2.
On the other side, the Raiders have not beaten a team with a winning record either, but to be fair, the Bills are the only team with a winning record they have played and two of their wins came against teams with 3-3 records. (Houston Texans, New York Jets).
The local Kansas City media has been force-feeding us for years about how great Brandon Flowers is… and I may have even bought into it for a while. Flowers gets burned repeatedly by top NFL WRs, and lately he has been getting burned by everyone he matches up against.
Chris Cox of CenCal Raider Nation: If Palmer does start and looks sharp, like reports are saying, can the Chiefs secondary cover those speedy Oakland Receivers?
Chiefs Pass Protection
Steve Brown: Chiefs lose if they can’t protect Matt Cassel. Last season the Raiders tied for second in the NFL with 47 sacks. This season the Raiders are mixed with several at 16, but just a few from the NFL lead. The Raiders defensive front four are getting it done with DE Lamarr Houston (1 sack), DT Richard Seymour (5 sacks), DT Tommy Kelly (2.5 sacks) and DE Matt Shaughnessy (1 sack). In comparison the Chiefs as a team have just five sacks. The best way to take Darren McFadden from the Raider plan is to have Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe air it out, but if the Chief O-line can’t hold Seymour it’ll be a long day for Kansas City.
Eli Kaberon: The Raiders are better on both sides on the line, especially the K.C. offense vs. the Oakland D. Richard Seymour could dominate the interior of the Chiefs line and pressure Cassel all day.
BetUS.com currently has the Chiefs as 5 1/2 point underdogs.
Raiders fans LOVE Carson Palmer. I am not sold that a “retired” quarterback can come in and make an immediate impact for the Raiders… Especially not enough to become a “leader” in his first week with a new team.
The Raiders rank 28th in the NFL giving up 283.5 yards per game through the air.
Dwayne Bowe has become an elite NFL WR, and when you’re an elite WR, it doesn’t matter who is covering you. Expect a big day from Bowe!
While teams are exploiting the Raiders pass game instead of rushing the ball, the Raiders are giving up 4.9 yards per carry… 28th in the NFL. I suppose it all comes down to how you feel about Jackie Battle’s ability to run the ball… The Chiefs like to try to run the ball to all areas of the field, and Dexter McCluster wasn’t getting it done up the gut. Battle is big and tough.
I am taking the Chiefs to get their 3rd win of 2011… and I like them big.
Kansas City Chiefs 31 – Oakland Raiders 20
What are your thoughts on the game? Let us know in the comments section below!